Hi and welcome to another edition of the MELSAYS PODCAST. How are you all holding up? I’m happy to share with you today another great interview!

My guest for this episode is BC-based artist Jessa Gilbert. She is renown for her colourful murals and works of art that depict beautiful landscapes from her outdoor adventures. Over the years, she has received several awards for her art and has worked with many renown brands such as MEC, Nature’s Path Organics, Burton Snowboards, just to name a few and has created murals in different cities across the province. She was a joy to speak to, so without further ado, here’s Jessa Gilbert!

The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!

5 Questions With: Sarah Phelps


Growing up, I spent a lot of time watching my grandma paint. I was always fascinated by the different techniques she used, the vibrant colours, etc. So much so that she eventually offered to teach me and for me to take painting lessons. Though I’m not particularly gifted as an artist, I have always liked drawing, painting and expressing myself in a variety of creative ways. It’s inspiring to hear about women like Toronto’s Sarah Phelps, who have pursued their dreams of being an artist. I’m thrilled that she took time away from her paint brushes to answer a few of my questions in my latest 5 Questions With below.

1) What first got you interested in art?

I’ve been an artist my entire life. When I was younger, I focused on drawing portraits and had very little interest in painting. It wasn’t until about 6 years ago that I tried my hand in abstract painting, and haven’t looked back! 


2) Why did you want to pursue abstract vs. other forms of art?

Abstract painting gives me the freedom of expression, to use my emotion and just go with the flow. When I create, I have no plan in place, and rarely know what the painting will look like in the end. The less I think about the outcome, the better the painting turns out! 


3) What are some of the main messages you try to convey through your artwork?

My paintings have good energy and positive vibes. I want my pieces to inspire others and bring them pure happiness, joy, and inspiration. When I look at my own paintings, I always feel something (as opposed to seeing something). It is up to the viewer to determine the story behind the painting, and what it means to them.


4) What is it like to be an artist in a place like Toronto? Is there a supportive art scene here?

I believe that it isn’t the place that determines your success, it’s your motivation, drive, and perseverance. The Toronto art scene is decent and becoming more supportive. That said, it’s important to put yourself out there to get noticed, go after the opportunities that you desire, and to continuously network and connect with people worldwide if you want to move forward with your art career. I sell my art to people all across the board, from Toronto to Vancouver, Italy, Bermuda, Switzerland, Indiana, etc, so it’s not all about where you are located. 


5) Where would you like to see your artwork take you one day?

Although I am currently successful in my art career, I want to push the boundaries, travel, and I’m determined to make it big as a well known artist! I have a plan in place and executing it as we speak!  

5 Things to do in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is the beautiful capital of New Mexico. Founded in 1610, it is the oldest capital city in all of the U.S. and the oldest city in New Mexico. Santa Fe is a culturally rich city with both Spanish and Mexican influences. Fans of art, food, history and architecture will rejoice in this place. I was delighted to get to know Santa Fe a little better on my road trip this summer. Here are some of my favorite things to do in the area:


1) Stay at the Silver Saddle Motel – This legendary western style motel is located just a few minutes drive from the historic downtown Santa Fe. This family owned motel is perfect for those looking for an authentic and kitschy Western American experience. If you go to the Silver Saddle Motel, you can expect cheap rates, clean rooms and also free breakfast in the morning on their outdoor patio. There is also a cool picnic area where guests can relax and enjoy the scenery. This rustic gem was once the home to hollywood actors who came to film in the area.





2) Grab a cold-pressed juice at Verde. – Looking for some healthy refreshments while in Santa Fe? Make sure to grab a fresh juice from Verde. Their juices are made from local organic ingredients and change seasonally. In addition to their cold-pressed juices, they will soon be launching the Verde Bite, healthy grab-and-go foods. You can find them on W. San Mateo in Santa Fe but they also deliver straight to your door.


3) Eat at Eloisa – Chef John Rivera Sedlar combines traditional New Mexican cooking and modern techniques at his restaurant Eloisa. Located just a few steps from the Santa Fe Plaza, this restaurant was inspired by Sedlar’s grandmother’s cooking and recipes. He uses local ingredients and earthy foods as his inspiration for the dishes he creates. Presentation and colour are two of his strong suits. The dishes he presents are also very flavorful. His avocado chocolate dessert was unreal!





4) Grab a WHOOS Donut – Made from scratch every day, these gourmet donuts are to die for. They use local ingredients such as blue corn, chipotle, chili and Mexican chocolate to create original donut recipes. You can find their donuts at a variety of locations downtown or you can stop by their shop on Cerrillos Rd. You will not regret it!



5) Explore the Santa Fe Plaza and historic downtown – The Plaza is a National Historic Landmark located in downtown Santa Fe. The city square has a unique traditional Spanish-American style that dates back to colonialism. It was and still is to this day, a major gathering point in the city.On this Plaza, you’ll also find some small vendors, food stands and also some outdoor music performances. Around the Plaza, you’ll find a handful of monuments, museums, historic sites, art galleries, markets and shops. It’s a great place to start your visit of downtown Santa Fe. The oldest public building in the U.S. the Palace of the Governors is also located on the plaza.






Urban Art

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Urban art is one of my favorite things and Toronto has some amazing art all around the city. This particular mural has been one of my favorites for a while, I absolutely love the color of this mural. To me, it’s one of Parkdale‘s signature murals and adds so much character to the area. I’m always excited to find new murals all around town and it’s also one of my favorite things to photograph when I travel. Do you have some favorite murals or urban art in your city?

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Photos by @Offner

Springsioux fishleather gloves (get them here)

Zara oversized knit v-neck sweater 

Anine Bing boyfriend jeans (get them here)

Nike Free TR Fit 4 (get them here)

 Zara Biker Jacket with zips

The 10th Tribe beanie 


5 Questions With: Skye Walker

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Photo by: Peter Hulst

I first heard of the southern California artist Skye Walker a few years ago. I believe I found his website through a Liquid Salt mag post. I was immediately drawn to his art because of the beautiful ocean and nature themes. The mural Skye is standing in front of on the above photo was the first piece I saw of his and absolutely fell in love with it. Yes, I may have a little bias for redheads but his art really spoke to me, it made me feel peaceful. Over the years, I’ve followed his journey and am stoked on all the success he’s been getting as of late. I can’t wait to go back to Leucadia in a few weeks to see this amazing mural in person! I hope you will be as inspired as I am when you read the interview below. Here are my 5 Questions With Skye Walker:

1) When did you start making art? Do you recall the first drawing that really marked you and made you think this was what you wanted to do for a living?

I always say that I picked up a crayon and started drawing and never stopped, but that is pretty true. I was always drawing, doodling and escaping into fun worlds with my art as a kid. Hundreds of hours of drawing in my room and loving every minute of it. I remember the moment I wanted to be an artist for life and for a career. We were living in Gardnerville, Nevada at the time and I was 8 years old. I had drawn some cartoons of Garfield the cat that I thought were awesome, so I sent them to Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis. A few weeks later I got a letter from Mr. Davis (or his secretary) but he signed it, and it said he received the drawings and he liked them a lot! My jaw hit the floor and I was blown away that he liked my art enough to write a letter back. So from that moment on I decided to be an artist for life and if I could, for a career. I remember the exact moment I had that realization too, sitting at the breakfast table.

2) What inspires your art? Your art revolves a lot around ocean and nature themes, why is that?

Growing up If I wasn’t drawing, I was outside playing. We lived in quite a few places growing up like California, Nevada, Spain, Hawaii, Colorado and Oregon. My sister and I were introduced to nature and camping and being in our natural surroundings by our parents. So, naturally, I gravitated to things like surfing, snowboarding and biking. Luckily we didn’t have iPhones, computers or the internet then. We never got a Nintendo (even though I wanted one) but I’m glad I didn’t get it. 

So being in nature inspired a lot of my art, as well as figure drawing and the human form. I do mix the elements of nature with the human body a lot. Usually the female figure represents mother earth and her interaction with our surroundings whether it’s subtle or more prominent. I think if I had grown up in an urban setting my art would certainly reflect those themes. But they reflect nature, the oceans, mountains, skies and trees- but I certainly try to present them in different ways and I’m always trying to evolve my style and themes.

3) As years go by, how do you push yourself to keep growing as an artist?

This is a great question. Just as we all have to keep growing and pushing ourselves as humans as we strive to survive and adapt, artists have to do the same with their art. Case in point, I was working in the Outdoor Sports industry as an Art Director and was pretty burnt out with the same old graphic design projects. But that job security was hard to leave, until I was let go along with 35 other people when the economy hit the fan. While this was frustrating, it freed me from the confines of that job artistically and let me focus on my own art and projects… but it really opened things up for me to return to doing large scale murals. 

I had done a lot of murals in high school and in college, but I didn’t see a career in it at all. It was fun, but a lot of work. Flash forward 9 years and my artist friend Alex Krastev referred Whole Foods to me as they were building a new store in my town of Encinitas. They contacted me about doing murals and that kick started a fire for me to focus on murals. Since then I have completed about 23+ murals from San Diego to LA to Denver to Austin and back again. 

Murals allow me to push myself as an artist all the time. To figure out spacial issues with large scale art that I can’t do on a small scale or on the computer. It’s also like solving a problem each time too, what paints will be best, what colors, how do I reach those heights, how do I get the scale I need and host of other issues… but I love it because it’s always challenging and it’s always pushing me artistically to create new ideas to work with the space that’s given to me. 

So if my friend hadn’t referred me to Whole Foods, I would probably still be doing smaller scale paintings and graphic design (which I still do) and not thinking of murals. But since that happened, it opened my eyes to new horizons with art. Murals are an amazing way to bring art to the public eye and change the image of a neighborhood. But the best part about it is that it’s never easy and it forces me to push myself artistically every time. It’s easy to sit at a computer and research ideas, new ways of thinking and such… but getting out and thinking on your feet and creating with your hands does wonders for my thought process and gets me out of my comfort zone. That’s when the real creativity begins.

 4) You’ve had the chance to create murals and work on special projects with a lot of renowned clients from Whole Foods to Rip Curl and Nike, what have been some of your most memorable projects to date?

My first real job out of college was at Rip Curl as their graphic designer for apparel. This was memorable because I’d never designed a t-shirt before, so I had to fake it until I figured it out. But that job was rad, made some great friends, went to Australia twice and surfed my brains out. Also designed a couple thousand t-shirts and other graphics, really helped me cut my teeth on some fast paced graphic design work.

I’d have to say lately though, the mural jobs & projects all have such memorable situations and experiences, it’s awesome. I had an assistant in Austin, Texas who turned out to be an ex-convict with crazy stories. Did a mural in Denver in between a blizzard praying the paint would stick to the wall, it went from 60 degrees to 7 then to 40 and back again. Since the murals are so big, everything that’s involved to create them is so much bigger which makes it all very memorable.

I just finished a mural for The Hub, Hillcrest Marketplace in San Diego and a woman walked up and said: “This is so wonderful, you’ve lifted the spirit of this whole neighborhood!”. I was very touched by that, she truly meant what she said and that made me feel like what I was doing was good and important. Ten minutes later a car sped by and a guy yelled: “Looks terrible!”. The Yin & Yang of it all, which makes creating murals so memorable. I can’t get those experiences in my home office!

5) For those who don’t know, you are also a surfer. Where are some of your favorite places to go surf?

Ah yes, surfing. A real love in my life. There is nothing quite like it and I don’t know where I’d be without it. I love taking surf trips whenever I can and experiencing new places and waves. I surf my local breaks pretty often and I try to get up and down the coast a bit to get out of the neighborhood and surf some different spots. I’ve learned as I get older that my favorite place to surf is wherever I am at that moment, whether it’s 2 foot slop or 6 feet and glassy. Just being in the ocean is wonderful. 

5 Questions With: Vivianne Lapointe of Live FAST Mag

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Photo by: Janell Shirtcliff

On one of my recent trips to California, I attended an art show that Vivianne Lapointe also known as Ladyshark put on at a neat art space in Hollywood. Being a big fan of the ocean and having always been fascinated by sharks, I was really excited by this exhibit and fundraiser. From then on, I started following Ladyshark on social media and discovered that she was also the founder of an amazing magazine called – Live FAST Mag. Over the past couple of months, it’s become my go-to mag for inspiration – they always have such beautiful photos, travel and art features as well as so much more! Vivianne and her team recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of their very first annual issue. “A big glossy book with drool-worthy features that you can pick up a year or 10 years from now and flip through with the same pleasure,” she says. You can check out the campaign and what Live FAST Mag is all about here. I’m thrilled to present to you today my 5 Questions With Vivianne Lapointe.

1) Can you talk to us about your style evolution from your teens until now? How would you describe your style today? (you can provide us with photos if you’d like)

My personal style was a bit all over the place growing up – like I’d wear thick socks in fancy heels, and I remember people making fun of me because I’d straighten my hair only in the front and leave the back really messy. I was always into platform shoes, knee high socks and hats. Right now I spend a lot of cash on great lingerie and stockings, because somehow it makes anything I put on after sexier and more expensive. When I’m chilling at home or at the office I look like a tomboy – skinny jeans, oversized tees, snapbacks – but when I go out I like to feel like a sex pot. 

2) Who are your style icons?

Claudia Cardinale, Brigitte Bardot, Dita Von Teese and then a lot of my super stylish friends  like Janell Shirtcliff, Kelley Ash, Cyd and Dal from Stone Cold Fox, Leemor Rhodes and Chiara Ferragni.

3) What inspired you to create Live FAST Mag? What is your mission with the mag?

FAST stands for Fashion, Art, Sex and Travel – the best things in life. Think about it… you can really lose yourself in an amazing orgasm, the view you discover when you reach a mountain peek, a great book, staring at a painting, or wearing a gown in the most gorgeous silk. Life is so short! I hope we inspire people to live to the fullest and to do everything they can to stretch the precious time we are given on this earth.

4) What are some of the most memorable moments thus far with Live FAST Mag?

Our first Babes On Tour, when we documented our road trip from Los Angeles all the way up to San Francisco. That’s when I fell in love with the Madonna Inn and Big Sur. I’ve been back twice since. Another great moment is when the president of the NY Observer emailed me to tell me he is a huge fan of the mag! And both of my trips to Pow Wow Hawaii were pretty life changing. 

5) You’re a big fan of the ocean and of sharks, where does this passion come from?

It stems from fear and has come full circle since. I’ve written about it pretty extensively here.  

Best of luck with the campaign!

Preppy with a punch! #DailyOutfit

Happy Friday everyone!!! Hope you all are having a lovely day thus far and gearing up for the weekend! I’ve been listening to this track non-stop all week, I think it’s perfect for this sunny Friday!

Last night I ate at one of my favorite restaurants in the city called La Carnita. It’s a great modern/fancy taco restaurant on College Street in Little Italy. Their tacos usually go between $4.50-$5. I had the cripsy avocado and frijoles taco last night, it was delicious. My friend who works there also let us taste their amazing churros. I think they’re hands down the best churros I’ve ever tasted. Unlike Grand Electric, who offer a similar menu, you don’t have to wait for 2-3 hours in line at La Carnita. The drinks are great, the atmosphere is laid back and you’re bound to have a good time.  So if you’re looking for a new place to try out or are already a fan of the taco, check out La Carnita. Plus, as a little extra, they bring you a rad limited edition art print with your bill. Such a neat idea!

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Today’s outfit is a little preppier than usual. I ripped my red pants while getting dressed this morning (don’t ask!) so I had to rethink of an outfit in a few seconds as I was already running late for work.  I took inspiration from my new Zara wedge boots and put this one together 🙂

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Zara fabric wedge ankle boots (get them here)

H&M slim-fit off-white trousers (similar ones here)

H&M chambray buttoned-up shirt (similar one here)

H&M fine-knit peach sweater (similar one here)

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Lionette the JOPLIN bracelet (check the site for more info)

Forever 21 etched Geo cuff set (get it here)

Forever 21 spiked and rhinestoned bracelet (get it here)

Vintage mixed metal necklace 

Scotch & Soda Ring (similar one here)

Springsioux Lady Muerte ring